Out and About
Get Down with Motown (The Musical)
MOTOWN THE MUSICAL is currently playing at the Mirvish Prince of Wales Theatre on King Street West, and it has audiences dancing in their seats, and out on the streets.
It’s a story about music, passion, race relations, and love. Motown founder Berry Gordy had a dream to bring the predominately black performers from the 1960’s Detroit music scene, to the mainstream attention of predominately white radio broadcasters and A&R representatives. He developed a long-lasting relationship with his “family’ of musicians, and wanted nothing but the best for them in their quest for fame. The independent record label went on to last over a quarter century, and remains in the history books as one of the more prominent in the industry.
The facts presented have credibility as well, with Berry being one of the co-producers, along with Kevin McCollum and Doug Morris. So yes the story follows the life of Mr. Berry, but it also showcases the multitude of careers he helped ignite, including Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Smokey Robinson, and in later years as part of the Motown revival with acts like Rick James. All are represented by the talented cast who sing and sway through the almost three hour production that’s more than a trip down music memory lane.
Beyond the music, there’s the story of how this music was uniting both black and white audiences, and also becoming a voice of disenchanted youth raising their voices against the Vietnam War and racial discrimination. This was also the time of Martin Luther King’s reign, and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. There are quite a few other story lines that are revealed during the performance, and there’s sure to be something new learned from the history books from the label’s legacy.
The stage set up is simple, yet efficient, the lighting and choreography works for what it is, and the costume changes sparkle and work fabulously on stage. While it’s impossible for the vocals to compare to the original singers, the arrangements and orchestration are wonderful and fast-paced. Many hoots and hollers were heard from the crowd when the first notes of song favourites began, and of course everyone was standing for the closing curtain. Another magical night at Mirvish!
MOTOWN THE MUSICAL– Princess of Wales Theatre – 300 King Street West, Toronto
Tickets start at $25.00 – 416-872-1212 or 1-800-461-3333
Playing through November 1, 2015. Running Time: 2 hours 45 minutes (includes intermission)
Directed by Charles Randolph-Wright, featuring choreography by Patricia Wilcox, with arrangements and orchestrations by Grammy and Tony Award nominee Ethan Popp. David Mirvish is the local presenter of this US-produced touring production.
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.